Izabal Wood Company (IWC) was founded as a response to the relentless destruction of the Atlantic lowland forests in northeastern Guatemala driven by ranching, agribusiness and urban expansion. It works as a combination of impact investments that seek transformational change: IWC complements the approach of its sister company, Izabal Agro-Forest. Together, the companies promote climate-smart landscape restoration through sustainable natural forest management, agroforestry, planted forestry with precious woods, and enrichment of degraded forest. IWC focuses on avoiding deforestation in the first place and reversing the degradation of existing forests. It does so by producing income for private forest owners to guarantee the integrity and health of their forests. IWC operates mainly outside of Guatemala’s protected areas where deforestation through logging and fire is extensive and constant. The company partners with landowners to sustainably manage their forestland, utilizing cutting-edge silvicultural practices and technologies to ensure that harvests are low impact and timber is fully traceable.
The proximity to Puerto Barrios on the Caribbean ensures competitive logistics. Local processing adds significant value to tropical timber at the source while creating skilled jobs in a predominantly informal forest sector. IWC is committed to harnessing a wide range of lesser-known timber species in order to reduce pressure on over-exploited precious timbers, such as mahogany. This will require best-of-breed equipment to mill, dry and machine products for use in fine furniture, flooring and heavy construction. Doing so will require a concerted campaign to raise awareness of the beauty, functionality and ecological importance of under-utilized tropical timbers. IWC is working closely with the other companies in FCCF’s portfolio to create synergies and share knowledge.